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August 27, 2015

Would-Be Portland State Donor Had Checkered Business History

A self-styled tech entrepreneur whose $100-million pledge to Portland State University earlier this month did not materialize reported no assets in filing for bankruptcy four years ago, according to The Oregonian.

The supposed donation was the latest in a string of big promises to businesses, public officials, and institutions on which John Michael Fitzpatrick failed to deliver, and which Portland State did not discover in rushing toward last week's planned announcement of the mega-gift, which canceled at the last minute, the newspaper writes. Another Oregonian article describes how the proposed gift came together and seemingly unraveled.

After he was identified as the anonymous donor, Mr. Fitzpatrick told the newspaper he has the wherewithal to make good on the $100-million pledge and ultimately give Portland State, which he briefly attended, more than $1 billion. The Oregonian said an analysis of public records involving his ventures — which range from a check-cashing business to a documentary series called "Orgy TV" to grand plans to build a supercomputer in Portland — uncovered no evidence of such wealth.